Veronica Zepeda scored two goals and defending champion Santa Clara advanced to the title game of the NCAA Women's College Cup with a 2-1 victory over North Carolina tonight.
Santa Clara (20-4-1) will play West Coast Conference rival Portland (19-4-2) in Sunday's championship game. The Pilots beat Penn State, 2-0, in the other semifinal.
North Carolina (21-2-4) has won 16 national titles and had never failed to reach the College Cup. But the Tar Heels have lost three in a row to Santa Clara, including a 1-0 setback in last year's final.
The Broncos scored in the 10th minute. Zepeda took a short pass from Bree Horvath at the top of the penalty area, dribbled around defender Catherine Reddick and struck a low shot that went between Carmen Watley's legs into the net. It was the Broncos' only shot of the first half.
Zepeda made it 2-0 in the 72nd minute. She collected a loose ball in the penalty area and struck a one-touch shot into the top of the net.
North Carolina closed to 2-1 on Lindsay Tarpley's 16th goal seven minutes later.
The Tar Heels outshot Santa Clara 19-7, but couldn't get the equalizer in a frantic rally against a defense that packed in around its goal in the final minutes.
Sunday's title game will be just the second in the 21-year history of the tournament without the Tar Heels, and the first since 1995.
Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and Washington Freedom star Mia Hamm are engaged. Garciaparra proposed to Hamm last week, the Boston Herald reported.
The two met at charity event in 1998 and started dating last year, shortly after Hamm, 30, divorced her husband of six years, Marine pilot Christiaan Corry. Garciaparra, 29, told the Herald the couple is planning to wed "sometime in the next two years."